Are You OD-ing on Healthy Nutrients?

You know that things like fiber and omega-3s are good for you, but consuming them in excess just isn’t necessary—and your calorie count could be spent in other ways

December 9, 2010
person drinking orange juice

Every health guru will tell you to load up on antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3s, but as is the case with most everything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. A healthy balance of nutrients will help keep your weight down and your body strong, but flooding your system with 1000 percent of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C will hardly give you a nutritional edge. Plus, downing two servings of a sugary smoothie for the sake of its nutrients can saddle you with extra calories.

Instead, maximize the health benefits of your diet without over-taxing your belly. Here's a breakdown of what your body actually needs, and how you can get these healthy nutrients in appropriate quantities.

two glasses of chocolate milk
Catherine Sears
Vitamin D

Benefits: Builds strong bones, may reduce your risk for obesity, colorectal and breast cancer, and certain auto-immune diseases

Too much: May cause kidney stones, constipation, nausea

Aim for: 5 micrograms/day

Equivalent to: About 1 oz smoked salmon (size of your thumb), 2 cups low-fat chocolate milk,  2/3 can of light tuna fish packed in water

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Benefits: Builds strong bones, controls muscle contractions, boosts heart health, may reduce your risk for breast cancer

Too much: May cause stomach pain, constipation, muscle aches 

Aim for: 1000 mg/day

Equivalent to: About 2 cups of plain nonfat yogurt, ¾ cup Whole Grain Total cereal


Benefits: Helps lower blood pressure, keeps you regular, may help you lose weight

Too much: Can lead to gas, bloating, stomach cramps

Aim for: 25 g/day (women); 31 g/day (men)

Equivalent to: About 1 1/3 cups navy beans, 1 cup bran cereal, 4 ½ pears

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Benefits: Lowers triglycerides, improves heart health, and boosts mood

Too much: Can increase your risk for bleeding

Aim for: 1.1 g/day (women); 1.6 g/day (men)

Equivalent to: About 3.5 oz of salmon, ¾ Tbsp flaxseed, 6 walnuts

orange juice
Vitamin C

Benefits: Helps heal wounds, strengthens your immune system, may lower your risk for certain cancers

Too much: Can lead to nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps

Aim for: 75 mg/day (women); 90 mg/day (men)

Equivalent to: About ½ cup of orange juice, 1/3 cup sweet red pepper,  2 sips of an Odwalla C-Monster

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shredded carrots
Vitamin A

Benefits: Helps your vision and bone growth, wards off infection

Too much: Headache, dizziness, blurry vision, coordination problems

Aim for: 0.7 mg/day (women); 0.9 mg/day (men)

Equivalent to: About ¾ of a medium baked sweet potato, ¾ cup carrots

woman drinking OJ
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Tags: nutrition